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Ethiopia PM urges ‘sacrifices’ to save country

6 Nov 2021 By AFP

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopia must be ready to make ‘sacrifices’ to ‘salvage’ the country, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Saturday, as fighting in the north intensifies between government forces and Tigrayan rebels who threaten to advance on the capital.

Over the fears of a rebel advance on the capital, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa on Friday urged Americans to leave Ethiopia ‘as soon as possible’.

In an advisory, the US Embassy warned ‘the security environment in Ethiopia is very fluid’. It urged ‘citizens who are in Ethiopia to leave the country as soon as possible’.

The warning came after several groups including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – locked in a year-long conflict with the government – and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) announced a new alliance.

Prime Minister Ahmed’s announcement came a day after nine rebel groups said they would join forces in an alliance built around the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been locked in a year-long war against Abiy’s government.

TPLF representative Berhane Gebre-Christos said on Friday the alliance aimed to ‘remove the regime’, as he signed the nine-party agreement in Washington.

‘There are sacrifices to be made, but those sacrifices will salvage Ethiopia,’ Abiy tweeted. ‘We have seen the tests and obstacles and it made us stronger,’ he said, adding: ‘We have more allies than the people who turned their backs on us.’

‘For us, Ethiopians, dying for our sovereignty, unity and identity, is an honour. There is no Ethiopianism without sacrifice,’ the government’s communication service said on Twitter.

Last weekend, the TPLF said it had taken two strategic cities in the region of Amhara, where its fighters had advanced after retaking their Tigray bastion in June.

It said on Wednesday it had reached the town of Kemissie in Amhara, 325km northeast of the capital.

The TPLF added it was running ‘joint operations’ with the Oromo Liberation Army, another rebel group which predicted Addis Ababa could fall in a matter of weeks.

The government, which on Tuesday declared a nationwide emergency, has denied any major rebel advance or threat on the capital, vowing to press on to victory in ‘an existential war’.

Abiy’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum on Friday accused the rebels of spinning ‘an alarmist narrative that is creating much tension among different communities, including the international community’.

“This information warfare and this propaganda that they have been propagating is giving a false sense of insecurity,” she added.

Security Council

The United Nations Security Council expressed ‘deep concern about the expansion and intensification of military clashes’, according to a joint statement released after their meeting on Friday in New York.

The council also expressed concern over the humanitarian situation and national stability, and ‘reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Ethiopia’.

The government has dismissed rebel claims of territorial gains, saying on Thursday that the TPLF was ‘encircled’ and close to defeat.

It is unclear whether the alliance, named the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederalist Forces, will affect the trajectory of the conflict.

The TPLF and the OLA, which the government officially designated as terrorist groups in May, are well-known, but the other seven members are obscure, said one diplomat following security matters.

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